'Matshela Koko was promoted because of me': Zola Tsotsi tells Zondo commission

26 February 2021 - 16:03 By mawande amashabalala
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Former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi.
Former Eskom board chairperson Zola Tsotsi.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

The tussle between former Eskom executive Matshela Koko and former board chairperson Zola Tsotsi is far from over.

The two have been flinging allegations at each other at the state capture inquiry. Tsotsi fired the latest salvo on Friday.

Tsotsi was quizzed about Koko's evidence that he wanted to get rid of him in 2015 after Koko had suspended Malesela Sekhasimbe, who was close to Tsotsi.

The commission heard last year that Tsotsi had told board colleagues that Koko had been caught on camera engaged in an intimate escapade with an Eskom junior staffer.

Tsotsi said allegations that he wanted Koko's head were unfounded since he “had a lot to do” with his rise within the executive ranks at Eskom.

According to Tsotsi, he first attempted to get Koko promoted during the tenure of Brian Dames as CEO.

Tsotsi testified that Dames had rejected his suggestion because Koko was “not ready” for the position of group executive of technology and engineering (now commercial).

“It then happened soon after Mr Dames had left and Mr [Daniel] Matjila was then acting. The motivation went to the people and governance committee of which I was a member and I remember clearly having supported that promotion, and Mr Koko came to me and thanked me for it,” said Tsotsi.

“Several months later when Mr [Tshediso] Matona had just become chief executive in October [2014], in November Mr Koko came to me and asked if I will support his promotion to that position as a substantive group executive and I said yes.

“Mr Matona came to me formally and said he is going to make the proposal and would I support it, and I said I would support it and indeed that is what happened. And Mr Koko again came to thank me for it.”

For these reasons, Tsotsi believed Koko's continued onslaught was “very disingenuous” and meant to create non-existent conflict between them.

Koko told TimeLIVE that he was self-made and that Tsotsi had no hand in his promotions at Eskom.

According to him, he applied for vacant posts and was promoted based on merit, without assistance.

“I was interviewed by Tshediso Matona, Tsholofelo Molefe and Dan Marokane and I was successful in that interview. I did not lobby for the job,” said Koko.

“Mr Matona made a submission to the governance committee of the board. It was cordial of me, after the fact, to thank Mr Matona and the board [for the confidence] they showed in my leadership by appointing me.

“I never applied for the position during Mr Dames' time because the position was not advertised and therefore it was not vacant. I cannot comment on a private discussion between Mr Tsotsi and Mr Dames.”

Koko will be back in the Zondo commission hot seat on Monday.


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